Editorial: Disturbing practice

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Monday, July 21, 2014


HOSPITAL wastes were discovered on the shores of Talomo, apparently exposed by the waves, apparently buried while no one was looking.

Now, this is indeed worthy of an investigation. The city has so many kilometers of coastline, how many are being used to bury hazardous wastes in? We wouldn’t have known of this dump had these not been unearthed by nature.

We can understand Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte when he said that he cannot “divine” how burying syringes and hospital wastes can harm the environment and the people, but all we know is that this is dangerous.

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It is not as if the city does not have the facility to dispose of these wastes. It has. But some other people think it is not necessary. Now these same people have to face the law.

The Republic Act 9275 provides that disposal of potentially infectious medical waste into sea water carries a maximum fine of P200,000 per day of contamination and is punishable by imprisonment.

Violations resulting in serious injury and loss of life due to water contamination have corresponding penalties of 12 years’ imprisonment maximum and a P500,000 fine per day of contamination.

The pressure is on the residents, the barangay council, and the volunteer guards. With this as precedent, barangay councils and residents along coastlines should take it upon themselves to keep watch over the unpopulated areas of their beaches, where unscrupulous disposal of hazardous waste can occur. As a bonus, the barangay tanods can most likely catch other people with ill-intent who find dark spots very conducive for whatever it is they are doing.

While they are at it, the barangay tanods can also look around for those disposing of sewage, because while no one has yet been caught, but it is a practice by some septic tank cleaners to just dump the sewage they gathered in unwatched beaches or drainage canals.

What was discovered in Talomo Beach is but a wake-up call for the city and the communities that there are people who have no regard for the welfare of the people and the environment.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 22, 2014.

Opinion

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